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Sharks are not only served up as Shark Fin Soup in restaurants, but can also be found in many health food stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, fashion stores, souvenir and pet shops.
Sharks are utilised in many ways; their flesh is used as fertiliser, shark liver oil is harvested for use in cosmetics and as a source of Vitamin A, dried shark skin is used as sandpaper and made into leather goods, and shark teeth are used in jewellery and sold as souvenirs in the curios trade.
Many consumers are unaware certain products contain shark because it isn’t clearly labelled or in some cases is mislabelled under different names.
Although the Shark Trust supports full utilisation of landed sharks, unsustainable shark fishing is a threat to shark populations worldwide, and the sale of products from such fisheries threatens to deplete vulnerable species. To aid shark conservation we recommend that consumers avoid the following:
➤ Manta Gill Rakers
Shark can also be used in pet products including supplements, dog and cat food, and chew bars.
If you're unsure about a product then ask your retailer if it contains shark. Many will state they are sourced from sustainably managed fisheries or from non-threatened shark populations – however ask for proof, not just assurance.
You could also write a letter expressing your concern to retailers or your local MP. But remember it is legal to trade sharks, as long as they are not listed under the CITES agreement and so it’s important to take an ethical, rather than legal, standpoint.
Currently Sawfish, Basking Sharks, White Sharks and Whale Sharks are listed under CITES.